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Photo Credit: Β© John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

TLN Three Stars: Leafs get caught in a trap game and lose in OT

The Leafs entered this game coming off one of their sloppiest performances of the season where they were unprepared to face a struggling Canadiens team. Twenty-four hours later, they had a new goalie make his first start with the team and it just so happened to be against his old club. David Rittich played well enough to keep Toronto in a game that proved to be a defensive slugfest where neither team was getting many quality chances. Aside from the Leafs botching yet another power-play and allowing the first goal of the contest, they played much better than the previous night.

The game went into overtime where it took the Flames just 36 seconds to end it off a tally from Johnny Gaudreau. That equates to just one point out of a possible four during the back-to-back games.

Three Stars

3rd Star:Β Scott Sabourin

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Sabourin has been with the Leafs’ taxi squad for the last few weeks getting in practices with the team and his hard work was finally rewarded as he made his season debut. Boy did he leave a good first impression with limited action. Not only did he get into a fight with Milan Lucic (who was playing his “1OOOCH” game), but he also laid a big hit to try and generate momentum. Not bad for a guy who finished with under five minutes of ice time.

2nd Star: John Tavares

Don’t look now, but Tavares has quietly been starting to heat up with eight points in his past six games. Two of them came during this contest and he was instrumental in making both of them happen, including a nice pass to Alexander Kerfoot on the tying marker. His confidence also seems to be rising as he was making great plays with the puck in the offensive zone. It couldn’t have been a better time for the captain to regain his form and he should be someone to keep an eye on down the stretch.

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1st Star: David Rittich

Rittich was put in a tough position going into his first game as a Leaf. His new team was on the second half of a back-to-back with travel and he had flown into Toronto with his old squad. It took him some time to get settled into the contest but Rittich played well enough to keep his team in the game and earn them a point in the standings. Judging by how Jack Campbell gave him props despite the loss, I think the Leafs will be pretty pleased by how their new netminder played. His best moment came when he took a shot at Matthew Tkachuk who decided to give his former teammate a snow shower.

40th Star: Joe Thornton

This has been a rough stretch of games for Jumbo Joe and he appears to be playing like his age. Tonight was no exception, as I barely noticed him throughout the game apart from taking a high stick to the face that drew a double minor penalty. He played for parts of that ensuing power play which failed to muster up many chances, which is a microcosm of how poorly the Leafs’ man advantage has been these last few weeks. Toronto showed a willingness to rest their older players since Jason Spezza was a healthy scratch for this one, it’s time that Sheldon Keefe do the same for Thornton.

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Tweet of the Night

Nothing better than a hockey quote taken out of context.

Looking Ahead

The Leafs have a big game coming up against the Winnipeg Jets who remain right on their tails in the North Division standings. While tonight’s loss gave Toronto an additional point, their lead is only at seven points so it’s imperative they respond with a big performance on Thursday night. You can catch that game on TSN3 and TSN4 with puck drop scheduled for 7 p.m. EST.

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